Phoebe Davies - a long term resident
Phoebe lived in or around Bute Town for over 50 years - which is probably something that many of us would find incomprehensible today!!
We first pick up Phoebe in Bute Town in the 1851 Census. She is married and her husband Daniel is the Inn Keeper at The Windsor Arms (although the pub is not named on the census return sheet). She is 31 years old and she has 5 children between the age of 12 and 1 month.
Age - Male
Age - Female
|Daniel Davies||Head||34||Inn Keeper||Llangynidr, Breconshire|
|Phoebe Davies||Wife||31||Bedwellty, Monmouthshire|
|Jane Davies||Daughter||12||Llangynidr, Brecon|
|Edward Davies||Son||9||Scholar||Llangynidr, Brecon|
|John Davies||Son||6||Scholar||Llangynidr, Brecon|
|James Davies||Son||2||Llangynidr, Brecon|
|Mary Davies||Daughter||1 month||Gellygaer, Glamorgan|
|Mary Ann Davies||Servant||18||House Servant||Merthyr, Glamorgan|
From this information we can speculate that Daniel and Phoebe moved to Bute Town after the birth of their son James who was 2 in 1851, as only the daughter Mary was born in the District of Gellygaer, which included Bute Town.
Looking back to the first national census in 1841 we find Phoebe and Daniel living in Llangynidr with their 2 oldest children. Daniel is a miner (who would have worked in the Ironmines). When you look at a map it is clear that Llangynidr is near Crickhowell. However, when you look at the description of the Enumeration District you find that the area extended to Rhymney Bridge - which is just to the north of Bute Town. So, although they were based in another county (Breconshire) and most the children were born there, they were infact living only a matter of 1/4 mile from Bute Town in Llechrhyd Houses. This clearly emphasises the fact that Bute Town is on the edge of 3 counties - Breconshire, Glamorganshire and Monmouthire - and the river that flows just below it forms much of the boundary.
1861 - 1881
By the 1861 census Phoebe is a widow but she is still earning a living from the Ale House. She has 3 children living with her - Anne 18 (but she is not shown in the 1851 census), James 12 and Mary 10. Her father Edward Jones, a widower is also living with her.
At some time over the next decade Phoebe (or Phebe as it is spelt on the 1871 census) leaves the pub and sets up as a Green Grocer in Bute Town. Her daughter Jane 32 is living with her (she is a dressmaker) as well as her son James 22 (a coal miner) and her other daughter Mary who seems to be listed as 29 years old where as previous census would suggest she is 19. Phoebe is also benefitting from the huge influx of English labourers working on the LNWR railway extension to Rhymney, as she has a lodger, Samuel King from Cockram near Lancaster.
Her son John is living 2 doors down with his wife Ann and daughters Phoebe 2 and Mary just 11 months and a lodger from Somerset.
In 1881 John is living at Number 9 and has become a Colliery Fireman. Phoebe’s grandchildren - Mary 10, Alice 7, Daniel 5 and Ann 3 - are all recorded as scholars, as well as Jane aged 2. Their first daughter Phoebe, now 12, appears on the census with Phoebe at 2 Twins Gates, which is probably near to the toll houses, along with another granddaughter Ann Davies Jones aged 7.
1891 - 1903
The 1891 census picks up Phoebe living at 12 Collins Row "Living on her own means" with her Grand Daughter Ann Davies Jones who is 17 and is listed as Phoebe's companion. The household also includes 2 lodgers - William Williams 47, a widower from Cardiganshire and his daughter Jesse aged 9. This census is the first where the language spoken was gathered - and in this household both of the older residents are listed as only speaking Welsh whilst Ann and Jesse speak English and Welsh.
As we enter the new century, Phoebe is still living at 12 Collins Row, but now alone. She lived until 1903 and is buried across the county boundary in Breconshire at the Graig Cemetery that overlooks the Rhymney Valley, where many of her children and grand children carried on living and working.
Bute Town is just 100m from A465, on A469. Leave A465 at The Twisted Chimney!!
BBC History Website - Welsh Language